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SYFY WIRE The Hunger Games

Hunger Games prequel revealed as 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes', set 64 years in the past

By Andy Hunsaker
Hunger Games prequel cover

Suzanne Collins' wildly successful Hunger Games series is getting another chapter — this one set 64 years before Katniss Everdeen's rise to prominence in the broken society of Panem — and thanks to publisher Scholastic, we now know its title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Due for release on May 19, 2020, it will be the first new book in the series since 2010's Mockingjay

“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival," Collins said in a statement. "The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”

The Hunger Games trilogy has been a huge hit with the young adult crowd ever since the first book's release in 2008, and of course, the profile was raised significantly with Lionsgate's four-film series that began in 2012, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant champion for the oppressed underclass forced to fight each other to the death for sport. Now, we will learn about how that merciless society came to pass.

Hunger Games prequel cover

“It has been thrilling to see the growing excitement from readers around the globe for this new Hunger Games novel.” said Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade. “Suzanne Collins is an expert storyteller and world-builder, and in revisiting the world of Panem, she again raises important questions about authority, the use of violence, and the truth of human nature.”

“This cover does an extraordinary job of capturing the conflict — both inner and outer — that lies at the heart of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” said David Levithan, VP, Publisher, and Editorial Director for Scholastic. “The mockingjay has returned, but at a new angle . . . which is very much in line with the story that Suzanne Collins is telling.”

You can bet another film will likely not be far behind. As EW reports, Lionsgate chairman Joe Drake has been in communication with Collins throughout her process, so that new Hunger Games movie could come sooner rather than later. The big question, natch, becomes whether or not Kiefer Sutherland play a younger Donald Sutherland.